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The Thinking Poet - II. I Wandered Through Fog 

II. I Wandered Through Fog

I wandered through fog today, thick-headed, 
Drooping, an unwatered plant,
Weary from having been shaken awake
By a fictitious riot that culminated
In a vicious murder by a rabid crowd,
Egged on by a soulless leader,
Also fictional, as far as I know,
Invented over one hundred fifty years ago,
But all too real, all too much like
Current rabid crowds, real ones,
Egged on to recent vicious murders, actual ones,
By soulless leaders, one in particular.
The resemblance was striking
Between these events and their perpetrators,
Unrelated by ideologies,
But identical in their darkness,
Historical twins, along with their hideous brethren
From uncountable other ages and places.
Their demon howl echoes down the centuries, 
The bloody legacy of a species
That dreams of heaven
With both feet planted in hell.

1.Think of a time when you felt rage about some wrong in the world. 
2.If you have not felt rage about the wrongs of others, what has kept you from feeling that?
3.What, if anything, did you do in response to the wrong? If you didn’t do anything, what could you do?

The Thinking Poet - Broken Castle 

Broken Castle

Since boyhood 
I believed in you, trusted you,
Listening to your passionate prayers,
Your heartfelt singing,
Your delicate unfolding of truth's flower
As a gardener examines each petal,
As a lover explores his beloved,
And I saw in you
Wisdom worth learning,
Journeys worth following,
Lesson by lesson 
As the mile markers flicker by.
I built a castle of vision,
Founded on your shoulders,
A tower from which 
I could gaze upon the world
And recognize distant shores.
But while I was gazing
I saw you, crawling out 
From your foundation place,
And shifting before my eyes,
Once a solid stone,
Turning now to sand,
Washed away from me
And from solidity itself
By preposterous tides
To which you clung
In denial of all you once knew
And all you once taught,
So that truth disintegrated
Around self-serving falseness.
And as the castle crumbles,
From bottom to top,
I wonder what solid stone
Can I find now on which to perch?
What rock will not erode 
Before the tide of falsehood
That carried you and my trust in you
Away forever?

1. Have you ever felt betrayed by a group or individual you once trusted? Were you wrong to trust them in the first place, or did they change in some way? How did that affect you?
2. What did you lose when you were betrayed, and how have you reacted to that loss?
3. If the “castle” can be restored, what is our part in that?
4. Assuming that the “castle” cannot be restored, what do you do now to replace it and find the good things it used to offer you?

The Thinking Poet - Still A Tightness 

Still A Tightness

Tightness still grips my abdomen
Just below my diaphragm,
A knot that has been gradually loosening
Over the past half hour, since we spoke last.
I have heard your footsteps several times
And felt the tension increase each time,
Not to the point of pain or nausea,
But to a rigidity that is ready,
Ready for something dangerous,
Something I have endured before
And would rather not endure again.
I will be okay, I tell myself,
But I am not yet OK,
Still thinking rapid thoughts
In the panic of readiness,
Still trying to figure out what has happened
And what will happen.
I will be OK, I tell myself,
Because there is no one else to tell,
But I am not OK yet.
I breathe in, 
As if I haven't breathed in too long,
And I probably haven't.
The tension is softening into sadness,
And I hear the rain, also soft,
Falling on the ground outside.

1. Does this remind you of any experience of your own?
2. Describe a conflict with someone and the feelings it generated in you.
3. Is there a point when the tension softens into sadness? What do you do then?